The Las Vegas Raiders appear happy with the roster they put together this offseason. There was chatter that the team would take a look at free agents across the league once rosters were finalized after training camp but they’ve mostly kept in-house players. Everybody on the practice squad spent a portion of the offseason with the team and there are very few players who were in training camp who aren’t still in Las Vegas.
That even goes for veteran players. Wide receiver Keelan Cole was expected to make the active roster due to his past success but he ended up getting let go as part of roster cuts. However, the Raiders still like what he could bring to the team. Las Vegas announced that they’ve signed Cole to the practice squad.
Getting Cole on the practice squad is a really good move. Tyron Johnson and DJ Turner made the active roster but they’re still unproven commodities. If they struggle, the Raiders will be able to replace one of them with a proven veteran like Cole. He’s had over 400 receiving yards in four of his five seasons, including 748 as a rookie. He’s capable of being a really solid No. 4 wide receiver if the Raiders need him to be.
Las Vegas also announced the release of defensive end Zach VanValkenburg
Raiders Also Sign Guard Alex Bars
One of the biggest talking points for the Raiders this offseason has surrounded the offensive line. Outside of left tackle Kolton Miller, there are no proven starts in the group. The fact that the team has done little to address the offensive line means that they have some confidence. The depth is a little thin with the team only carrying eight on the active roster which is why they likely brought back a player who was with them for training camp.
Along with the Cole signing announcement, the Raiders announced that they’ve signed offensive guard Alex Bars to the practice squad. He spent his first three seasons with the Chicago Bears before signing with Las Vegas this offseason. He played 38 games, starting 11 of them. He’s got enough experience to where the Raiders can play him if necessary. Right now, rookie Dylan Parham is the only backup guard on the roster. Don’t be surprised if Bars gets elevated to the active roster quite a bit to fortify their offensive line depth.
Raiders Depth Chart Released
Heading into Week 1, there weren’t any major roster battles that were unresolved. The Raiders released their first depth chart for the game against the Chargers and there weren’t any huge surprises but there were some notable decisions.
For a brief moment, it appeared that Parham has supplanted John Simpson as the starting left guard. Based on the depth chart, that will not be the case as Simpson is listed as the starter. Another interesting wrinkle is that rookie Zamir White is listed as the fourth running back. That likely won’t be the case as he’s expected to get the second-most carries behind Josh Jacobs. One player to keep an eye on is Nate Hobbs. The Raiders have him listed as a starting cornerback but it’s unclear if he’ll continue to be playing in the slot. Hobbs exclusively played in the slot last season but the team has been giving him looks on the outside.